Greetings from Norway

The Norwegian Coastal Administration is preparing for a record season for cruise traffic along the Norwegian coast. The goal is to ensure safe sailing and efficient traffic flow. Photo: Ruben Iversen / The Norwegian Coastal Administration

Source: Rekordsesong for cruisedestinasjon Norge | Kystverket

Nice clear and calm evening in Ålesund yesterday:

Picture captured from Ålesund Port’s Webcam at 22:13 hrs.

A bit of a generation gap between these two Cruise ships visiting Ålesund today:

MEIN SCHIFF 4 (IMO: 9678408) is a Passenger Ship that was built in 2015 ( 7 years ago) and is sailing under the flag of Malta.
It’s carrying capacity is 99526 Gross Tonnage and her current draught is reported to be 8.2 meters. Her length overall (LOA) is 293.2 meters and her width is 42.3 meters.

MS Deutschland (IMO: 9141807) is a Passenger Ship that was built in 1998 (24 years ago) and is sailing under the flag of Bahamas .
It’s carrying capacity is 22496 Gross Tonnage and her current draught is reported to be 5.8 meters. Her length overall (LOA) is 175 meters and her width is 23 meters.
Sailing as World Odyssey from September until April each year.

Here is an explanation on the name change twice a year:

This is a product that many here is probably familiar with:

The Polyform Inflatable Buoy (AKA Norwegian buoys) and known for the signature blue rope-holds.

Others may be more familiar this product:

These fenders are seen in Marinas all over the world.

Produced here in Ålesund since 1955:

Now produced in many parts of the world, incl. the US:

Not a subsidiary of Polyform AS ,Norway.
Their products looks the same at first glance, but there are slight differences;

They got the signature blue rope hold, but not the same shape

Spotted in Oslo, both ends of the range of cruise ship, the giant AIDAPERLA, and ahead of her on the Aker Brygge, the rather more select three masted schooner SS CHRISTIANA. Photo: Beau Sherriff, Newton Ferrers ©

Looks more like the Square rigged Christian Radich:

Here is the Schooner Christiania:

It doesn’t ALWAYS blow and rain in Ålesund:

Åsefjorden 24. May, 2022
Photo; Bernt Baltzersen

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It may be summer but there are still a lot of show left in the mountains.
An avalanche hit a popular tourist area a couple of days ago :

The avalanche started at abt, 1800 m. asl. It was released spontaneously due to warm weather and rain. It reach the bottom of the valley, blocking the road and hitting several cars, including a Winnebago with a family of three inside. They escaped with minor injuries, but the Winnebago was totally smashed (as can be seen in the video)

From 4 days ago:
Electric atmosphere in the Geirangerfjord

  • This is our first trip. And it is very relaxing, so this is recommended. This is what the couple Hilde and Kjell Wangberg Larsen say - and see more and more of the Sunnmøre mountains emerge from the clouds the further into the fjords we get:

    Almost silently, “Havila Castor” glides on battery towards Geiranger - while the tourists snap away. PHOTO: STAALE WATTØ

The couple from Ålesund enjoy the ship’s fish soup. They are on a day trip with Kystruten’s “Havila Castor”, on the way from Ålesund to Geiranger:

Hilde and Kjell Wangberg Larsen enjoy themselves with fish soup on board. PHOTO: STAALE WATTØ

The shipping company in Fosnavåg, which currently only has one of four planned ships in operation, will this summer make the trip to Geiranger on all northbound voyages between Bergen and Kirkenes.
And they will do it with the help of electric propulsion the last stretch into Geiranger. There will also be some battery use elsewhere along the coast, but most of all they will run on LNG.
Battery use will be expanded as more charging stations come along the coast. Today Havila can only charge in Trondheim.

Tom Anker Skrede, head of tourism at Destinasjon Ålesund & Sunnmøre, believes that they avoid fossil fuels, is absolutely crucial:

Tom Anker Skrede is head of tourism at Destinasjon Ålesund & Sunnmøre. PHOTO: STAALE WATTØ

  • Most people are becoming increasingly aware of this with the environment. The sustainable tourism products will be chosen first. So here Havila has gained a fantastic advantage. The professional tourism industry will also demand green alternatives.
  • So it is not the case that it is preferably younger people, who may not be the ones you see most often on these ships, who are most environmentally conscious?
  • No, older people are also concerned about the environment. They also drive electric cars, and get kicked in the leg by the grandchildren when they do not sort rubbish, says Skrede.

The fog has lifted and waterfalls and mountain ranges have appeared. PHOTO: STAALE WATTØ
We have passed Stranda and started on Sunnylvsfjorden. Now the fog has lifted so much that one mountain row after another appears. We can see that there is still a lot of snow on the peaks, and the rivers plunge down the mountain sides in spectacular waterfalls.

“Havila Castor”, with Captain Truls Bruland and 1st mate Egil Grov Nilssen, from Sørreisa and Sandnessjøen, respectively, on duty in the wheelhouse, leads us almost silently into the fjord:

Captain Truls Bruland (closest) and 1st mate Egil Grov Nilssen. The latter has his maritime education from Ålesund. PHOTO: STAALE WATTØ

Not far away is CEO Bent Martini how are watching the progress with excitement:

  • Others talk about what they will build in the future. We’ve done it now. Today we sail with the most environmentally friendly ship in this category, says Martini.
    He adds that Havila had an ambition to build the four Coastal Route ships in Norway. But here there was no one who had the capacity.
    Furniture from Sunnmøre:

    The furniture on board is also short-haul. They are made in Sunnmøre. PHOTO: STAALE WATTØ

The ships are built at a yard in Turkey, but designed in Norway and a lot of the equipment onboard are from Norway:

  • Nevertheless, 40 percent of the total cost framework is based on deliveries from Norwegian suppliers, says the director - and sits down in a chair from Ekornes. They are one of several local companies represented on board. Yes, they even serve beer brewed here in Geiranger .

    Bent Bentini, CEO of Kystruten. PHOTO: STAALE WATTØ

Martini adds that according to the plan, another ship will be put into service at the end of September, while the last of four ordered ships will be in action from mid-December. And then they have “Havila Capella”, then, which is located in Bergen and is waiting to be sorted out in the insurance problem that the war in Ukraine has created.

But “Havila Castor” is, fortunately for the shipping company, in full swing along the coast, something not least Vibeke Fjørtoft from Nordfjordeid and Sondre Rødseth Hemnes from Gursken are happy about:

Vibeke Fjørtoft from Nordfjordeid and Sondre Rødseth Hemnes from Gursken are butlers on board. PHOTO: STAALE WATTØ
Both have previous experience from Hurtigruten, and know both the Norwegian coast and know what the jobs are about.
Vibeke and Sondre are at work for 22 days on board, and then they have 22 days off at home - before there are back onboard for two new round trips. (Bergen-Kirkenes v.v.)

Positive guests

  • It is great to work on this new ship. And then there are many positive guests on board, the two say and do not have time to talk to us anymore. The guests flock to the restaurant.
    There are about 250 of them on this voyage. Bent Martini says that they have many future orders for “Havila Castor”, even though they have not run any extensive marketing yet, considering the uncertainty surrounding the sister ship “Havila Capella”.

Many of the guest on the present round trip are Germans. One of them is 78-year-old Bernd Hochsattler from Frankfurt. He is in a traveling party of four:

Bernd Hochsattler from Frankfurt is on his first holiday trip in Norway. PHOTO: STAALE WATTØ

  • This is my first visit to Norway, he says excitedly and uses his mobile phone diligently to immortalize the waterfalls in Geiranger.

In the shop on board, among clothes, spices and cards, author Espen A. Jacobsen sits at a table full of stacks of books. Havila thought his book, “Coastal Holiday in Norway”, fit like hand in glove for them, and contributed greatly to the book now also being published in English and German.
The book is published by Vigmostad & Bjørke (

Author Espen A. Jacobsen has written the book «Coastal Holidays in Norway», PHOTO: STAALE WATTØ

Those who work in the shop explain that the tourists, in addition to books, like to secure T-shirts, sweaters and cardigans, postcards - and the ship’s self-produced spices.

Climate accounting
Sandra Ness, head of Climate & Environment in Havila, says that it is not just when it comes to fuel that the company thinks about the environment.

  • We have prepared a climate account that will show that everything we do will give results. And we focus on using short-haul food products along the coast. In addition, we have set ourselves the goal of throwing away as little food as possible, only 75 grams per person per day. Last time I checked we were already down to 78 grams:

    Chief Engineer Allan William Johansen in the battery room. The batteries weigh 86 tons and provide 8,300 horsepower. PHOTO: STAALE WATTØ

On the right track

  • No one is 100 percent sustainable, not even us. But we are well on our way, says Sandra Ness.
    At least we are on our way to Geiranger. There is already a large cruise ship on which it smokes from the funnel. It does not with us. On this voyage, the ship ran on battery for three hours. The shipping company says there will be more eventually.

  • I am at least 99.95 percent sure that this is the right investment, says the shipowner, Per Sævik (80)

    The shipowner Per Sævik enjoys the view from the wheelhouse on «Havila Castor». PHOTO: STAALE WATTØ
    Published: Saturday, June 11, 2022 at 18:03
    Last updated: 4 days ago
    Google translation (with some help by the undersigned)

PS> Per Sævik started his working life as a fisherman at 14 and was Skipper on his own fishing boat at 21. He is now 80 and still active.
When asked; How long are you going to keep working like this?

  • As long as it’s nice to get up to go to work every morning. I got a round trip with Kystruten as a gift from Fjord1 (which he also own) when I turned 80.
    I do not know when I can take that trip. At least it will not be in the high season, because then travelers who pay well must get the cabin.

It is soon that time of the year again;
This Saturday 25. June the “Slinningsbålet” bone fire will be burning brightly again:

The live broadcast on will last throughout the evening, and at least until the fire has collapsed.

This year it will be without any pandemic restrictions for the spectators, ashore or on the water.

Here the firework prior to lighting the 2020 “Slinningsbål”:

In 1992 there were still several large bonfires buring in Ålesund to celebrate St.Hans, or “Midsummer night”.
This one was built at what is now Skutvika Container Terminal that year:

A bit of “cheating”, they used a crane to lift the “Bålsjef” to the top to light the bonfire.

That kind of luxury is not available at the skerry where Slinningsbålet is located:

PS> At least they use safety belts and lines. No such thing in my time.

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Then it is done for this year. Slinningsbålet that took weeks of hard work to create burnt down in a few hours without the spectacular collapse that everybody was waiting for. Maybe they had been too cleaver building it this year?

It did shred some falling debris towards the end (see from 3:20:00 onwards:

By Midnight it was only a glowing heap left:

Someone found that a opportune time for a dip in the sea:

Time to head home for most:

Or to continue the party somewhere else.

The new Expedition Cruise ship Viking Polaris was out on yard trail from Vard Søviknes where she is under outfitting. They took time out to join all the other boats watching Slinningsbålet.
Seen here on the way in Hessafjorden:

She wisely stayed away from the maddening crowed close to the bonfire while it was burning at it’s strongest:

And left to get back to do her trials when the bonfire was ebbing:

As did many of the smaller boats;

Nice view from up high on Slinningsbålet:

Getting ready to set the fire burning at 21:00 hrs.

Shetland Isles are being invaded by Norwegians again:

It is a friendly invasion, marked by the signing of a Friendship Agreement:

At the same time Norwegian salmon rivers are being invaded by an unwanted species; Pink salmon or humpback salmon, which is a species of anadromous fish in the salmon family. It is the smallest and most abundant of the Pacific salmon.

Must save the wild salmon with an intelligent trap

Rune Rørstad from Ålesund is collaborating with, among others, Huawei on a system that will stop humpback salmon from invading Norwegian salmon rivers.

The Norwegian wild salmon is endangered and under strong pressure from many quarters. One of the new threats is the invasions of the alien species humpback salmon that disrupt wild salmon reproduction:

The humpback salmon, especially the males, get a characteristic hump on the front of the back during the spawning season

This comes on top of the escaped farmed salmon. Humpback salmon spawn every two years, and river owners and salmon fishermen hold their breath before the 2023 season. It is expected to offer a humpback salmon nightmare in several places.

  • In some rivers, 20,000 to 25,000 humpback salmon are expected in the course of a month and a half.
    Rune Rørstad and his partners believe they have a groundbreaking solution, an intelligent “fish trap”.
    And the partners are not just anyone;
  • We were contacted before the salmon season in 2021, by Huawei, Rune Rørstad tells Sunnmørsposten. The Chinese technology giant had started a preliminary project together with the Berlevåg hunting and fishing association. They were to put out cameras in the river and build artificial intelligence around recognizing different fish species.
  • This is part of Huawei’s “tech for nature” initiative, which is a way for them to show social responsibility. It is about using technology to support something that helps to save nature or endangered species, Rørstad explains.
  • The scheme we are talking about here is easy to understand: the river is closed with a fence, and fish and animals that want to swim up are forced through a tunnel. There, a camera registers the species in question. Wild salmon, sea trout and other of the river’s natural inhabitants are allowed to pass; the hatch opens. Farmed and humpback salmon, on the other hand, are rejected, led to the side and caught.

Rørstad is the leader and largest owner of the company Troll Systems AS. Their job is to create the infrastructure itself.
Huawei is responsible for the camera technology, while a third company, Simula consulting, is developing the artificial intelligence.

  • I am not a biologist, but a building and construction engineer. I can still say for sure that 2021 was catastrophic. The only thing we know about next year is that it will be even worse, says Rørstad.
  • Everyone in the hunters’ and fishermen’s associations is still worn out after last year. They worked around the clock to sort out as much of the salmon as possible.
    It will soon be ready, but will always have to be ordered in advance.
  • First, the individual river must be measured and it is decided where things should stand.
    Neither hunters’ and fishermen’s associations nor landowners alone will be able to afford to buy, the Troll Systems leader believes.
    The price tag will probably be around one million kroner per river.
  • For such projects, they are happy to apply for funding from the County Administrator or the Norwegian Environment Agency, but no one has made such major moves as this before, but the Norwegian Environment Agency has set aside funds for a number of such projects.

Furthermore, an effort is also needed to operate the “fishing trap” during the spawning season.

  • It should be in use throughout the season, and should be taken down before there is ice in the river. Then it must be re-installed next season.
    During the season the traps must be attended - all fish that are not allowed to swim further go into a catch cage and the attendees have to manually sort out this fish. Much of the sorted fish can be eaten. Humpback salmon is considered a good food fish, although only before it has spawned.

From Sunday 26 June, the company will in a couple of days drive equipment from Bodø, to Berlevåg, which is located in the far north of Finnmark. There the scheme will be tried out on farmed salmon.

  • Thursday will be the official opening, or let’s say closing, the entrepreneur says.

From today (behind paywall) Google translation with a little help

PS> Maybe useful to stop invasive species, like Atlantic farmed salmon, in US rivers?
Oh forgot, that probably wouldn’t be allowed if Huawei equipment is involved.

Something that probably is more interesting to most:

Alnes lighthouse at sunset;

Photo: Magnar Lyngstad

Sunset seen from Skansekaia, Ålesund, 23:34 hrs. yesterday:

Photo: Richard Lee Nielsen